Peace ball in India's court, says Gilani

Last Updated 16 July 2010, 04:41 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday the ball was now in India's court to take the peace process forward by resuming dialogue on all outstanding issues, as he met External Affairs Minister S M Krishna here.

Noting that his government is committed to "friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations with India," Gilani said Pakistan had "stood by its commitments" made during his meeting with his Indian counterpart in Bhutan and in the meeting of the Interior Ministers. The "ball was now in court of India to take the peace process forward by resuming the dialogue on all the outstanding issues," Gilani was quoted as saying during the meeting, in an official statement.

Krishna today held talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and also called on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani. Gilani said Pakistan has taken "serious and credible steps to bring perpetrators of the Mumbai incident to justice but wants India to share with it the credible and prosecutable evidence against the accused to achieve that goal".

Islamabad is also steadfastly pursuing matters agreed on during the Interior Ministers' meeting last month as it considers terrorism as a common threat to both countries, Gilani said.

"The evil designs of terrorists can only be defeated through continued dialogue between Pakistan and India," he added. he existing environment of goodwill in Pakistan for fostering friendly relations with India "needs to be benefited from through concrete measures to address all the outstanding issues between the two countries, lest it gets eroded with the passage of time," he said.

Gilani said he has "personally invested" in improving relations with India as he was of the firm belief that it is the only way forward for peace and prosperity in both countries and South Asia.

He underlined the fact that it had been agreed in his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Thimphu that "both sides would enter into discussions on all the issues of mutual concern and hence every dispute would be put on the table as part of the dialogue".

Krishna said his visit was part of initiatives taken by the Prime Ministers to resume meaningful dialogue. He agreed with Gilani on the need to bridge the trust gap between both countries and to enhance interaction between them at every level.
Krishna said despite the respective positions of India and Pakistan on certain issues, New Delhi will continue striving to reach "mutually agreeable solutions of the irritants" through dialogue.

(Published 16 July 2010, 04:41 IST)

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